tv [untitled] March 31, 2011 10:30pm-11:00pm PDT
me personally and for the institution. the poster with up right after new year's, and i remember very vividly -- i am a regular rider, and i went into the station and saw the first poster i had seen, it was incredibly exciting. it is satisfying to know that through the campaign, we are reaching a broader audience. >> for more information about
we have a quorum. supervisor mirkarimi: 90. please read item two. >> item two, approval of minutes of the february 15, 2011 meeting. this is an action item. supervisor mirkarimi: any comments on minutes? seeing none, public comment on minutes, please? seeing none, public comment is closed. may we take this without objection? or we do need roll-call. we have a new house order. >> on item number two. avalos aye. campos aye. chiu aye. chu aye.
cohen aye. elsbernd aye. farrell aye. kim aye. mar aye. mirkarimi aye. wiener aye. there are 11 aye. item passes. item three, chairs report. item four, executive director's report. these are informational items. supervisor mirkarimi: thank you. this past month, we had quite a bit of activity in the transportation of grain. -- transportation arena. i went to washington, d.c., march 13 through 15 for meetings on the hill with the obama administration to talk about san francisco transportation funding needs and progress on ongoing projects. we had a very productive meeting with the u.s. department of transportation with the deputy transportation secretary, and we
also joined several mta board members in staff meetings. the prospects for the new federal funding for transportation continue to be less than glowing. there is no agreement in congress about a funding source, and there seems to be universal acceptance that the concept of a federal gas tax will not be raised, at least until after the next presidential election. there is a distinct possibility that the reauthorization of the six-year surface transportation act, if that happens prior to the presidential election, could actually contain less funding than the current levels. stayed tuned for future updates, but do not hold your breath about future money -- stay tuned for future updates. the name of the game seems to be do more with what we have. able it was also dodged last week in sacramento when the legislature approved and the governor signed assembly bill 1052 from last year's $1.5
billion fuel tax loss. the bill also contains other provisions that make it possible for the state to support transit operations at a level that will avert a crisis. i'm sure that the executive director will expand on this in his remarks. last but definitely not least, last week, the transportation committee unanimously approved bill 57. the bill which is now moving to the legislative process, to the best of my knowledge, going to the transportation authority has registered opposition to the bill, even though we all voted at the board of supervisors to oppose the bill. this is a great concern to me and, i know, to many of you. i feel that the issue needs to be addressed decisively and probably this very week by our mayor's office through the legislative advocate in sacramento and also by our legislative delegation so we can have an opportunity to shape the discussion and protect san francisco's interest in the
region. lastly, i have to say that after our visit to washington, believe it or not, in particular, san francisco, is doing a lot better on transportation and transit- funding projects than many other projects in this country. -- many of the pockets in this country. we were given the opportunity to see exactly where other cities are fairing, and i have to say, despite these hard times, it looks like we are still very much better -- to see exactly where other cities are faring, and i have to say, it looks like we are still faring much better. i'm going to ask supervisors campos and cohen about how they felt about washington, was the food good -- i'm kidding. sorry, director. i do not mean to put you on the spot. supervisor campos: bid by may, i
do want to echo what you said about where san francisco is in terms of other jurisdictions on a number of these transportation issues. in our meetings with not only representatives from the department of transportation, but also members of congress, there is the sense that we in san francisco are ahead of the game in many respects. that said, i do think that there are things we can also do better, and i think we also have to have some humility in recognizing that there are things that other jurisdictions are doing that san francisco has not done enough on. one of the things that certainly was evident was around bicycling in the city. the bike share program that the district of columbia has is certainly a model that we should look into. as much as we have done around that issue, we are really behind
the game in terms of our efforts around that issue. i do want to thank the mta commissioner for pointing out those issues to us. i think that as much as we have done, there is a lot to be done in that area, and i hope we continue to push the issue forward. i am also very proud of the way in which we have handled some of the capital projects, which are getting federal funding. one of the things that was clear was that it is very important for us to maintain the level of scrutiny in terms of how the project continued to be run -- how those projects continue to be run. it is clear that in d.c., in a time of limited resources, that they want to see that level of scrutiny and oversight. i think it was a very good thing that we can say that we are
carefully watching how those projects are being run and that there is a collaboration between the mta and the county transportation authority. all of those things are very positive. it is important for us to have the visibility. again, kudos to our congressional representatives. i know leader pelosi has been doing a tremendous job moving these things forward. i also want to thank the mta staff for the work that went into planning the trip and not only making the logistical arrangements needed, but also making sure that we had a substantive discussion with the right people in d.c., which is an important thing to do as we are moving these projects forward. thank you. supervisor mirkarimi: well said. commissioner cohen, if you would like. supervisor cohen: thank you for
your leadership in organizing the trip. campos and mirkarimi pretty much covered everything, left nothing for me to share. it was refreshing to be in washington, d.c., with so many public transit professionals and having thoughtful conversations around regional priorities with the undersecretary as well as speaking with minority leader nancy pelosi. i think it was a feather in our cap that we had a stellar group that went there. the conversations that transpired with thoughtful and rich with policy substance, so i want to thank the transportation authority for pulling it together. look forward to seeing you again. supervisor campos: if i may add
something, which i think was an important piece that was added to those discussions, was that there was an interest on the part of folks in d.c., especially in the department of transportation, on how certain underserved areas of the city, how those needs are being addressed, and i think that having the supervisor for district 10, the supervisor for district 9, and supervisor for district 5 at the table was something that was very meaningful. there was certainly an interest in making sure that the needs of those communities are address. it was a very positive thing to see that on the part of people in b.c. who are doing the work on the ground. supervisor mirkarimi: i quite agree. i just want to say, for not just, i think, the very important perspective that was shared by commissioner cohen on behalf of district 10, it extended to the concerns of
supervisor avalos of district 11 and the west side supervisors as well. i think we can all agree that in the west side and south side of the city, we are definitely short shrift in being able to provide the kind of transit we would like and those kind of modalities we would hope those populations benefit from. it was not just about specific districts, but on the city wide concern, that i have to say i was impressed by both commissioners cohen and campos in being able to depict that picture that links of all neighborhoods, and i think it was well heard and well received by those we were meeting with. both in leader pelosi's office and the leader transportation. exactly my opinion that when we go to washington, we go not as just supervisors, but with a citywide focus. i left with the feeling at least
that that expression was well achieved. supervisor avalos: thank you. i really appreciate that focus that you had. looking city-wide when you went to washington, d.c., imagining the south side and the sunset as well. i have been trying to hammer home that we expect to be a transit first city, and often, we have fewer options for transit in district 11, four, and 10. to have that understood and it titillated by other members of this body is, to me, really gratifying. supervisor mirkarimi: consider this the new mantra. ok, executive director, please. >> mr. chairman, commissioners, good morning. before i get into the meat of my report, let me take a second to add to the discussion for a second. first of all, to thank the chair
and commissioners campos and cohen for making the time to do this kind of a trip to d.c., which was essentially 48 hours and a lot of time spent on airplanes. hardly a tourist trip. a lot of action in a couple of days. to reinforce also the impression that i got in feedback from members of the administration and others that i work with on an essentially regular basis about how involved and how aware of details and of projects, expectations, and so on the members of my board are, and that is a very nice impression to convey to federal organizations that are responsible for funding our projects. they know that this is not just my message, but it is really
your message in representation of the city -- citizens of san francisco. so i am very gratified about that. the other thing i wanted to say is that this administration is particularly focused and interested in the issue of underserved populations, and they regard san francisco as a veritable laboratory to address some of those issues in ways that are replicable to the rest of the country. i think that is a great opportunity that we have with this administration to have our programs support this and further it, not just by a sense of entitlement or money, but rather because they see the applicability of what we are doing, and they see us doing things that are a few years ahead of the norm. regarding my report, which is on
your desk, i think that the biggest news of the week was already reported by the chair. the biggest piece of news related to a.b. 105 is that it insures state transit assistance funds which can be used to support transit operations. this was a bill that passed with a great deal of bipartisan support, and it also bodes well for the ability of the station commission to more accurately predict -- with more certainty,
anyway -- the amount of funding that is likely to be available in state transportation permit program cycle, which is under development right now. it is really key to supporting and honoring the commitments the state has made to several of our key projects. so this is really a very good piece of news. it also includes $1.7 billion in general fund relief over the next couple of years, which is likely to improve the chances that the state will start approving disbursements of proposition 1a and 1b transportation bonds. as you may recall, the state decided to pass on the issuance of bonds, and a number of projects on the state depend on the funding, so this is actually a very good thing. on the central subway, you may
recall that the last couple of months, we dealt with the need to plug -- i believe it was a $140 million budget hole in the project. in the process, we worked with the mta to structure a swap that involve a number of different funding programs, but particularly, proposition 1a and 1b state bonds. so we were able to put together a packet of about $386 million, the majority being propositioned 1b, and then $61 million in the high-speed rail connectivity bonds. today, as far as the action to reaffirm the commitment to the presidio park way project, you are going to be approving a swap of almost $20 million in state
local partnership funds that will then move to the central subway, freeing up some of the commitment the central subway had of regional improvement funds. that has turned out to be a better fit for both projects because it vacates a few questions that were raised about the eligibility of the parkway project for the state local partnership funds, and at the same time, makes funding available to central subway sooner than otherwise we would have had. better market street -- we have an attitude under way. there is a danish firm that will be doing some surveys as part of the public space and public life study. there will be some of that activity happening on saturday.
some of the schedule has been moved a little bit because of the rain. but very interesting work that i think will support creative thinking about how to make the better parts of better market street real. going to keep you posted on that. major milestone on the van ness bus rapid transit project. we have issued the administrative draft eir in absentia, because she is off on the east coast. i want to congratulate our deputy -- and the entire staff, really -- for getting this thing ready and circulated to federal agencies and local agencies. it is a major milestone, and i expect after we incorporate comments from all these agencies, it public draft will be out sometime in april. we did have a presentation to the plans and programs committee on the outreach materials for this just last week.
i joined commissioner avalos and mayor lee, and i had several of my staff and people from other agencies, and bart, on a very interesting field trip at the ballpark bart station -- the balboa park bart station where we had a chance to see the challenges there with pedestrian safety and connectivity and so on. i thought it was actually something we should do more often. i really appreciate commissioner avalos for taking the lead in making this happen. i thought the mayor was particularly interested in the details as well. we are now already working on several things that are follow- ups to that discussion. one of them is a caltrans planning grant that should be able to give us enough funding to set up a community advisory committee that would be staffed
by mta. in addition to that, we intend to conduct a full of study, essentially focused on the prioritization of potential next generation improvements. there is a lot to be done there. but that is not a justification for not doing anything. so i'm glad we are finally moving on that. it is an area of tremendous potential. there is also the opportunity to really revitalize a lot about housing in the upper yard area, resolving the issues that india may have with utilization of the land, but getting to reshaping that area as a true, bourbon, middle density area that is a lot more than it is today. the -- true, urban, middle density area ban -- that is a
lot more than it is today. we closed just a few days ago. march 10 was the deadline for publication of these projects initially, and then the public has a deadline of march 24 to submit their ideas. let me just clarify -- this is the last shot. the first shot is potentially a multi-pronged process where mtc needs an additional amount of feedback. we need additional feedback for the planned. the mtc will continue to look back product evaluations -- look back to project evaluations. that is all to say that there will be several bites at the apple for you here, and we have
been scheduling already individual meetings with you or your staff to discuss priorities in your district and so on, with the caveat that the chair gave earlier that we are not likely to see huge amounts of money, so we need to be careful about how we prioritize. nevertheless, this is the time to put those things out. the mtc has released an initial vision scenario, which is more of the wish list that takes into account the future and an ideal sense of how the region should grow. in some places, morgan city, more connectivity with transit and so on. that does not mean is what we will wind up with, but an initial take to see what it would cost, what it would take to get to that kind of scenario. the topics that we continue to push -- and i am cognizant of the fact that share -- chair mirkarimi will be hosting another of these forums to discuss precisely these issues
-- is that whether it is new growth or the growth we already have on the books in san francisco, the kind of growth we put out is so efficient and so far superior to many other examples around the region that we should be entitled to infrastructure money commensurate with that commitment we are making. the more density, the more connectivity the transit, the transit-oriented development, and so on. we are making that point as loudly and clearly as we can. we have project analysis already going on the central freeway. we have made a call for projects for the transportation fund for clean air, and next month, i will spend time talking to you about how the program is developing and how it is relating to the new prop. aa because there has been some creative tension between the two programs.
and there has been a whole lot of progress in the bicycle programs. since the november 2009 superior court order allowing the installation of a limited number of bike lanes and so on, there has been a number of projects, a number of projects that have been completed, installed, and now, talking about sfmta's activities. over 500 bike racks. there is another 15 bike network projects on the books already to be completed before the end of the fiscal year, so this is a significant project, still playing catch-up to the couple of years we had to spend without doing much on this issue. there is more detail, but given the time, you can see that and
ask questions later. the last thing i have on my report is a warm welcome to our new office manager, who is sitting to the right of our clerk. she has, before joining us -- she just joined us last week. she was a bookkeeper and business operations manager for a small consulting firm, and she has experience as a mediator. she has a b.a. in transportation studies from washington, d.c., and an m.b.a. from san francisco state, and i'm sure this is her own contribution to the report. she rides her bike every day for transportation and for fun, and weather permitting, she tries to write 100 miles each week. she has participated in the first california climate right 340 miles from eureka in san francisco in five days. just last year.
has a pretty active volunteer schedule as well. we are delighted to have her with us already, and welcome aboard. that concludes my report. supervisor mirkarimi: thank you for that very thorough report. i just want to reiterate our appreciation to t.a. staff in our visit to washington, d.c. thank you to everybody who helped make that an effective visit. commissioner campos, you have another comment? supervisor campos: i wanted to do a follow-up to the executive director. on the point earlier about a.b. 57 and the legislation under consideration in sacramento to add two seats to the mtc, i know the board of supervisors has taken a position.
supervisor wiener introduced a resolution on that. we want to continue to be active in advocating against that piece of legislation. i do not know what is coming up in sacramento, if there is a hearing that is coming up, but i want to make sure that we are as engaged in sharing our concerns with the legislature about the significance of that legislation. >> thank you. it has been our practice to communicate positions to the legislature immediately after they are taken. that is what we did with a.b. 57, to the chairs of both transportation committees in the assembly and the senate, to our entire legislative delegation.